Angelina Jolie: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
1. Mariane Pearl - A Mighty Heart (2007)
Michael Winterbottom is an infuriating director. He makes films so quickly that he often doesn't get deep enough into his chosen subject matter, and for every success in his filmography there's usually a string of failures (albeit interesting failures) close behind. A Mighty Heart is one of the few occasions in his career, like A Cock and Bull Story before it, where everything fell into place to create something truly gripping and moving. If nothing else, it reminded us how remarkable Jolie can really be when the right script and the right people come along. Like many of her most successful roles, A Mighty Heart has its roots in a true story. The film is a detailed account of the search for Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002 and eventually beheaded. It follows the various attempts by the US Departments of Justice and State to track the kidnappers and bring them to justice, while always keeping Pearl's wife Mariane at the heart of the drama. Winterbottom shoots the film like a real-time documentary, and many of the individual scenes were improvised to some degree. The real-life Mariane Pearl specifically chose Jolie for the part, feeling that she had a "kinship" to her. It's not heard to see what she meant by that, as Jolie completely disappears into the role and makes the most ordinary details seem greatly significant. Not only does she perfectly replicate Pearl's delivery and manner (for instance, on the video messages to her husband), but her performance is completely devoid of glamour or self-consciousness in a manner that few Hollywood actors could achieve. The ending is truly heartbreaking and reinforces the widely-held belief that this is her finest performance. Having been enthralled by five of Angelina's mightiest performances, now let's look at those in which her heart really wasn't in it...
Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.